Cab 1: Sasha 0

There is nothing like the sound of carbon fibre hitting the pavement. The hollow clunk as your bike and you go crashing down. Yesterday while out doing a training ride I was side swiped by a Toronto taxi driver. Considering what could have been I’m pretty much OK; few major bruises, maybe a small fracture in my wrist, bruised ego and an unfinished training ride!

Few things I’ll admit to being my fault, actually just one fault. It was getting a bit late in the day to be riding where I was. I had wanted to do a 100-120km, 4hrs+ in the saddle. It’s been a bit of a brutal week for me so I needed to get some sleep and I needed some ‘me’ time on the bike.

I was on my bike by 0730 am but in retrospect I should have left 90 minutes earlier. So at 1130 when I was heading west on Bloor towards the Kingsway after doing the Ellis Avenue Climb in High Park, Bloor was packed with pedestrians and drivers. I slowed down, was aware of the imminent dangers, did not weave between cars but was patient in the right hand lane between the parked cars and live left hand lane of traffic, but could not stop the inevitable from happening.

At 1130 yesterday a Beck Taxi veered into me. The driver was changing lanes to make a right hand turn to go north on Jane. Unfortunately the driver did not check his right side view mirror or his blind spot. Who knows what the driver was thinking as he changed lanes.

As my mind went into panic mode I knew I had to make sure I was passed the last parked car as he was driving into me; being ‘squished’ between two cars was not an option. I knew I was going to hit the pavement. As the cab brushed up against me and my bike I managed to push myself away from the cab; I got my foot up against the door and forcefully pushed myself away. My bike was leaning to the right and I was afraid that as the bike hit the pavement I would be sucked under the cab.

A crew of strangers picked me and my bike up off the pavement. I cried trying to catch my breath as I was thinking what could have been. 911 was called. Police and EMS arrived shortly. As did a fleet of Taxi drivers. I was very happy that the police arrived before the fleet of taxi drivers. Forms were processed, everything was documented. And as far as I know the driver was charged.

Always a lesson to be learned:

  1. Ride when the roads are quiet. Early mornings. In areas where there are low volumes of traffic, on paths or in parks where there are no cars. And ride with a friend.
  2. In construction when you’re walking around the site you’re always supposed to make eye contact with the machine operators; accidents happen when they do not see you. I will always try to make eye contact with drivers, make sure they can see me in their mirrors, make sure they are away from me
  3. Texting and driving. As the law was tabled in Ontario the notion of banning all screens while driving was discussed. My dad suspects that the driver was looking at his screen for the next ‘pickup’; he did not have a passenger in the car. The Ontario  rules state, “The new law will not affect mobile data terminals, logistical tracking devices and dispatching devices.  They will be exempt for commercial and public service vehicle drivers who are engaged in the performance of their duties.” Drivers should be required to stop responsibly at the side of the road to use their GPS and communication systems, not while they are driving; they are equally distracted as a regular motorist.
  4. Always carry ID. I was wearing my pretty pink road ID and I had my cycling license in rear pocket. Carry something with your name and address on it. As well as something with emergency contact information.

As a rider I know that I’m the most vulnerable. I never play games with cars; they always win even when they’re wrong. I really love riding my bike. I hate that I’m going to have to drive to ride now. I hate that I’m a statistic between bike and car. I’m not afraid to get back on my bike but I’m very afraid to ride near parked cars and live traffic.